February 29, 2024

After a year of record-high temperatures and drought in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, the region has seen significant winter precipitation that has lifted most of the area out of drought conditions. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that most of the region is experiencing normal precipitation and ground moisture levels, with only a small portion on the edge of eastern New Mexico still under “abnormally dry” or “moderate” drought conditions. In late September, around 97% of Texas was experiencing some level of drought, with approximately two-thirds of the state in severe to exceptional drought. However, as of early January, the state had dropped to drought levels of about 57%, with only 13% under severe to extreme drought, and none under exceptional drought. This improvement is attributed to El Niño, which is expected to continue through at least May. While El Niño does not tend to impact the U.S. South during the warmer months, forecasters expect a continuing trend for precipitation through March. For the year so far, Lubbock has seen 1.89 inches of precipitation, and Amarillo has received 2.54 inches, significantly higher than the normal amount for this time of year.

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